When it comes to insurance, the past year was the worst on record. Hurricanes brought devastation to much of Texas, while fires ravaged large parts of California (the two largest states for Lemonade, and in the country).
In many areas across the US, our members suffered more losses than expected, presenting us with our first major test: to be there for them in their hour of need.
At Lemonade, leftover money goes to charity, but our social mission starts at home. When disaster strikes, insurance can either add insult to injury (paperwork, foot dragging), or it can provide relief when it’s needed most. Being there for our members is mission #1.
Good news is, our average (and median) time to settle a claim at Lemonade accelerated throughout the year, and is now less than a day. That’s a record. And we worked hard to deliver this speedy resolution with genuine empathy.
We were rewarded with a lot of love from our members, who ranked us – alongside USAA – as #1 in terms of customer satisfaction.
But while our social mission starts at home, it extends beyond. In the Lemonade model, we ask members to choose a Giveback cause when they sign up. People choosing the same cause form a virtual group, or a ‘cohort’ in our terminology. Behind the scenes, we use each cohort’s premiums to pay their claims, and we Giveback leftover money (up to 40%) to their common cause.
The past year may have been the worst on record for the industry, but that pain wasn’t distributed uniformly. The wonderful thing about Giveback is that when members of one cohort have a good year, we don’t use their leftover money to subsidize those that had a bad one. Each cohort stands on its own – as if it were its own insurance company – and their underwriting profits go to their nonprofit.
And so, even though Lemonade had an ‘underwriting loss’ on aggregate, more than a few cohorts had only a few claims, resulting in a healthy Giveback to their causes.
In fact, at $162,135, our 2018 Giveback is 3x the 2017 Giveback. And while this year’s Giveback represents a smaller percentage (~1.6%) of our revenue, it is about 20X higher than the benchmark set by the Fortune 500 for charitable giving (CECP p.36). The system seems to be working.
Where’s it all going?
In all, 15 nonprofits are receiving a Giveback this year:
- The Teach for America cohort in LA had a great year, with a loss ratio of only 1% (so a 39% Giveback!). Teach for America will receive $28,289 for their STEM program, which trains and places 2,300 teachers in classrooms nationwide.
- A cohort in Queens supporting the Robin Hood Foundation had a 3% loss ratio, so 37% of the premiums they paid – $29,084 – are going to fund meals for hungry New Yorkers.
- In Brooklyn, a cohort backing the Breast Cancer Research Foundation also had only a 3% loss ratio, sending $7,477 to fund advances in research, prevention, treatment, and survivorship.
- New Yorkers committed to the ACLU had a very healthy 6% loss ratio, channeling $9,290 to tackling LGBTQ+ discrimination.
The list goes on, and includes Citymeals on Wheels, charity:water, Code to Inspire, Evolve Creative Alliance, Friends of Firefighters, American Red Cross, New Story, NYSPCC, Thorn, UNICEF, and Women in Need.
What’s the Giveback impact?
Well, each of these amazing organizations make every dollar count. Here’s a sampling of the impact of these Giveback dollars:
- 23,387 meals will be delivered to those in need, from both Citymeals on Wheels and Robinhood.
- 3,603 kits containing the basic supplies needed in the aftermath of a disaster will be provided by the American Red Cross.
- 25 months of internet access for an entire girls school in Afghanistan will be supplied by Code to Inspire.
- 1,000 homeless children will be able to take part in Camp Win, a 13-week summer program in NY run by WIN, with a focus on STEAM activities (Science Technology Arts and Math).
- A home for the Castaneda family will be built in El Salvador, with the backing of the New Story.
- A water project in Cambodia will be built, delivering clean, safe drinking water for an entire community in need, with charity: water.
- 172 hours of therapeutic counseling, helping children heal from the trauma of abuse and neglect, will be provided by the NYSPCC (New York Prevention of Cruelty to Children).
- 20 mental health counseling sessions will be held for firefighters in distress, by Friends of Firefighters.
- 9 elementary schools in the tri-state area will receive a week of literacy workshops from Evolve Creative Alliance.
As Lemonade grows, so does the Giveback
As Lemonade grows, so does the Giveback: our list of charities we partner with is just getting longer, which means that next year’s Giveback has the potential of being larger and even more diversified among the many different causes our community cares about.
We’re grateful for the work these charities do, and for their cooperation year round.
As Brett Hagler, CEO and cofounder at New Story (our Giveback nonprofit partner that builds homes in the developing world), told us:
“I’m personally inspired by Lemonade’s unconventional approach to turn a necessary evil into a social good. Our team resonates with Lemonade because, similar to how Lemonade is modernizing insurance, our team is passionate about modernizing old traditional methods in our industry so that we can impact more lives faster and better.”
Here’s to the Lemonade community for truly making a dent, and here’s to the incredible nonprofit organizations for taking upon themselves the tireless task of creating a better reality for all of us.